There’s not much good news out there when it comes to the rapid spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus infections.
New York seems to be reaching its breaking point.
New Orleans looks like it may be next.
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Michigan has a surge in cases.
And Los Angeles officials are bracing for a wave of infections they say are about to overwhelm the medical system.
But one expert says all of these worst fears may not come true… and there may even be a light at the end of the tunnel.
Stanford biophysicist Michael Levitt, who won the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 2013, says the crisis won’t last nearly as long as many people believe.
More importantly, he also doesn’t think as many people will be hurt or killed as the media has reported.
Those projections are grim.
An infamous model from Imperial College London estimated up to 2.2 million deaths if no action is taken, with 1.1 million deaths even if action is taken.
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The University of Massachusetts Amherst calculates nearly 200,000 deaths.
A group of experts polled by the FiveThirtyEight website estimate around 246,000 deaths related to the infection in 2020… with some saying that number could top 1.1 million.
And those same experts warn we’re not even close to the peak yet.
That, they say, won’t happen until May at the earliest… and could even happen as late as August.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti wondered aloud in an interview with Business Insider: “Will we have hundreds and thousands of deaths or will we have tens or hundreds of thousands of deaths?”
And he predicted doom from coast to coast.
“There is no place that won’t be overwhelmed by needing more ventilators and not having enough,” he said.
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But Levitt says they’re all wrong.
He looked at data from 78 countries and found there is already “signs of recovery” in many of them, according to The Los Angeles Times.
“Numbers are still noisy,” he said. “But there are clear signs of slowed growth.”
He also called out the media for creating unnecessary panic over the virus.
“What we need is to control the panic,” he said, adding: “We’re going to be fine.”
Levitt became somewhat of a celebrity in China for predicting with almost crystal ball assurance when the outbreaks there would slow. On Feb. 1, when the situation in China seemed at its worst, he estimated improvement within two weeks, according to Israel’s CTech website.
Indeed, that’s when the situation there turned.
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And on March 18, when the news out of Italy was facing a dire situation that looked like it was only getting worse, he told a reporter that the country was halfway through its crisis.
“There has been a decrease in growth in the number of deaths in Italy in the past 2-3 days,” he said at the time, according to The Jerusalem Post.
Less than 10 days later, the headline in the Washington Post is: “Italy’s new coronavirus cases are slowing. How soon will normal life return?”
The story features the World Health Organization declaring a “light at the end of the tunnel” for Italy.
They’re not out of the woods yet. But they’ve got something they haven’t had for a while: optimism and hope… and experts who initially said Italy would be shut down until July now believe things will slowly start to reopen much, much sooner.
Levitt said the United States still has to take protective action including “social distancing” to stop the spread of the virus.
“This is not the time to go out drinking with your buddies,” he said.
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But he said the worst projections simply won’t come true.
“The real situation is not as nearly as terrible as they make it out to be,” he said.
And that could give Americans their own optimism and hope just when they need it the most.
— Walter W. Murray is a reporter for The Horn News. He is an outspoken conservative and a survival expert, and is the author of “America’s Final Warning.”